Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Things To Do

At Universal's Celebration of Harry Potter, actors including Rupert Grint give a look behind scenes

Rupert Grint could feel Alan Rickman looming behind him as he drew an unflattering portrait of Rickman's character Severus Snape while filming a potions class.

"I was absolutely terrified," laughed Grint, who played Ron Weasley in all eight of the Harry Potter films. "He was a great actor. … I'm sad to see him go."

Grint told a throng of reporters at Universal Studios Orlando's third annual A Celebration of Harry Potter on Friday night that news of Rickman's death was "quite a sideswipe. I was devastated last week."

This weekend, he'll be celebrating the 10 years of his life that he spent filming the beloved children's book series authored by J.K. Rowling. Cast mates Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom), Katie Leung (Cho Chang) and Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley) are also participating in this year's three-day event, which ends Sunday. The cast will be holding a panel discussion for fans on Saturday and Sunday at the theme park.

Despite grappling with the loss of Rickman's, the cast also shared happy memories of their time at Hogwarts.

"I nicked a spoon," said Leung, who is joining the celebration for the first time. "I don't know why. It was at the ball (in the fourth film) when we had all the fancy cutlery and I just took it."

Warner Bros. Pictures, the studio that produced the films, kept the props under tight wraps — even requiring every person to check in their wands every day, Wright said.

"If I had stolen anything, I couldn't have told you unless I wanted Warner Bros. after me," she said with a laugh.

Grint knows exactly what she means. He stole the golden egg from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire only to be tracked down after 13 hours by studio staff.

"Apparently, it was worth $10,000," he said.

He did get to keep one souvenir. Grint took the house number for No. 4 Privet Drive.

The cast will be sharing interesting tales from the set and life after Potter all weekend for the celebration, which draws thousands from around the world every January.

What won't they talk about? Details of the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them starring Eddie Redmayne or Rowling's new stage play premiering this summer in London: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

"I was just on a set visit a couple of weeks ago and I don't know what's known or what I can say, so I won't say anything," Lewis said. "But I'm really excited for what they are about to share with you all. It's absolutely amazing."

Wright, Leung and Lewis all felt that 10 years was enough time playing one character, and didn't feel sad about not being a part of the next chapter in the Harry Potter saga.

Grint felt otherwise.

"They made a terrible mistake in not casting me," he joked.

Comments
Mary J. Blige coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

Mary J. Blige coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa

An icon of modern R&B is coming to town to warm your winter right up.Mary J. Blige, the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, is coming to Amalie Arena in Tampa on Feb. 21, part of her ongoing Strength of a Woman Tour. Tickets start at $47.25 and go on sale at 10 a...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has everything The Force Awakens was missing

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has everything The Force Awakens was missing

When The Force Awakens landed two years ago, it was everything Star Wars fans wanted yet not entirely what we needed. It was a rousing tribute missing its own vision, introducing new characters and crises hinting at old ones. Star Wars: The Last Jed...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Downtown St. Pete’s 24-hour diner 2nd & Second is open

Downtown St. Pete’s 24-hour diner 2nd & Second is open

Downtown St. Petersburg’s only 24/7 restaurant has opened and doesn’t plan to close, ever. The 2nd & Second diner at the corner of Second Street and Second Avenue N will remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week offering a spot f...
Updated: 2 hours ago
13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

Hollywood has enough movies left to get everyone through the holidays plus any New Year’s hangover. Many are aiming for awards glory, a few are just here for the party. The really serious contenders won’t open nationwide until early 2018...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 13

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Dec. 13

The Little Prince: Based on Antoine de Saint-Exuperyís novella, an aviator who crashed in the Sahara Desert meets a little prince who has left his home on Asteroid B-612, leaving behind its only inhabitant, a single rose. Through Dec. 24. 2 and 7 p.m...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Hotly anticipated Ichicoro Ane is now open in St. Petersburg

Noel Cruz seemed remarkably chill. As did his partner Kerem Koca. All around them in the Station House building in St. Petersburg, workers pounded the last nails, bartenders unpacked boxes of glassware and jewel-toned bottles of Amari, and the kitche...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Video: Jimmy Kimmel holds his baby son, post-heart surgery, in emotional health-care monologue

Jimmy Kimmel was absent from his ABC late-night show last week while his 8-month-old son, Billy, recovered from his second heart surgery. Ever since Billy was born with a heart defect and required immediate surgery, Kimmel has become an outspoken adv...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Party like itís Christmas in Narnia with these recipes perfect for tea time

Party like itís Christmas in Narnia with these recipes perfect for tea time

As a kid, I always looked for doors into other worlds. I blame Narnia. In C.S. Lewisí classic novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, four British children step through a magic wardrobe into Narnia, a world filled with talking animals and plenty ...
Published: 12/12/17

From the food editor: How to make perfect, hot Crispy Roasted Potatoes

Sometimes, you just want a hot, crispy potato.I didnít get home from work the other night craving a full dinner; I arrived at my house with cartoon visions of potatoes in my head, and knew I had to make it happen.I wasnít looking for a fast food fren...
Published: 12/12/17
Cooking challenge: Making homemade edible Christmas gifts

Cooking challenge: Making homemade edible Christmas gifts

Should I infuse this vodka with bacon?Thatís not a question I expected to ask myself on a Sunday morning, but here we are. This Christmas, Iím giving homemade gifts: infused liquor and chocolate fudge. But I didnít realize it would be so hard to find...
Published: 12/12/17